Microsoft Project: What are Template Issues and Solutions

Why Use a Microsoft Project Personal Template

It is natural to create a new project with Microsoft Project using the File, New, Blank Project command which will create a project with the Global.mpt file that has a lot of short comings. It is far better to use a Personal Microsoft Project Template with these issues resolved like the Eastwood Harris template that may be downloaded from the Eastwood Harris website.

The following attributes have been changed in the Eastwood Harris Microsoft Project template from the standard settings:

  • File, Options, Schedule and Advanced have been edited in line with the Author's recommendations in his book.
  • A new View titled "Gantt Chart Inc Negative and Total Float" has been added.
  • Columns: Total Float added and Resources removed.
    • Grid lines: Middle and Bottom Timescale Tiers, Project Start, Project Finish and Status Date displayed and Current Date removed.
    • Bars: Total Float (Total Slack) and Negative Float added and all text removed from all bars.
    • When any task is made Manually Scheduled it will be displayed as a turquoise coloured bar. This was achieved by moving the Critical bar to the top of the list in the Bars form and creating a bar to display Critical Manually Scheduled bar.
    • Bar display in the Legend: Many bars have been hidden in the Legend (but not deleted) by placing an "*" at the front of the Bar description in the Bars form.
  • Printing: some project information is drawn from the Advanced Properties form. Also all project data has been removed from the Legend so the Legend may be hidden if not required, thus leaving all project data displayed if the Legend is hidden.
  • A Custom Field has been added to the Tracking Table titled Status Check indicates when activities have been updated correctly.


  1. You must set the Status Date in the Project Information form for this field to calculate correctly.
  2. The Summary Task comments should be ignored.
Microsoft Project: What are Template Issues and Solutions

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Microsoft Project Template Functional Changes

Microsoft Project 2013, 2016 and 2019 templates operate differently to earlier versions of Microsoft Project and there are some important changes that need to be understood by users of earlier versions of Microsoft Project.

  1. Templates that are saved on your computer are now titled Personal Templates in Microsoft Project 2013, 2016 and 2019;
  2. A default location for your personal templates needs to be created and your software mapped to this location before the Personal Templates function will operate;
  3. Select FILE, Options, Save and set your Default personal templates location: here;
  4. At this point in time Personal Templates may now be saved and used to create projects.

Note: To use Personal Templates you MUST set your Default personal templates directory in FILE, Options, Save.

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Understanding Templates

A template is a complete project that is saved and then copied in the process of creating a new project.

  • *.mpt file format is used for saving Microsoft Project Personal Templates.
  • The default location for Personal Templates is set in the FILE, Options, Save tab, Save templates section.
  • Select FILE, New to open the start-up Task Pane. There are several options for template locations:
    • FEATURED, this provides a number of sample templates and the ability to search for available online templates.
    • PERSONAL, this will allow you to open templates on your computer. As mentioned earlier, a Template directory must be specified first for this option to become available.
  • Organizational templates may be accessed by:
    • Allowing people to copy the organizational templates from a corporate location, or receive them by email, and save them on the local drive. This process is suitable when the users do not always have a network connection.
    • Mapping the User templates directory to a location on a corporate network drive.

Eastwood Harris Template

A Microsoft Project template in *.mpt format may be downloaded from the Eastwood Harris website at, Software & Downloads page that has a number of the issues with Microsoft Project defaults and other setting resolved. The changes to the Global.mpt default settings are listed on the web site.

You may wish to download this file, open it and save it as a Personal Template and use this file instead of the Blank Project option as it has some formatting issues resolved.

How to Create a Microsoft Project Template

  1. Create or select a directory to save your Microsoft Project templates in Windows Explorer.
  2. Select File, Options to open the Project Options form.
  3. Select the Save tab and set the directory that your Microsoft Project Templates will be saved in.
  4. Download the Microsoft Project 2013, 2016 and 2019 template from - Software Downloads page.
  5. Unzip it by double clicking on the zip file and dragging the file to your desktop.
  6. Open the file with Microsoft Project.
  7. Select File, Save As, Computer and Browse, then, select from the drop down box to save as type Microsoft Project template (*.mpt). Microsoft will default to the directory you have selected as a Template directory, so save the file in the Template Directory.
  8. Select the defaults at the Save As Template form and click Save.
  9. Close the Eastwood Harris template file and any other projects that may be open.
  10. Select File, New, Personal Tab and you should see the Microsoft Project Template you have just created.

Copying Views, Tables and Filters

As part of creating a Template or working on a project you may wish to bring in Views, Tables or Filters from an existing project.

The Organizer function is used to copy information between projects or to update the Global.mpt.

  • Select FILE, Info, Organizer to open the Organizer form.
  • The projects you want to copy settings to and from will have to be opened in order to copy data from one schedule to another, except for the Global.mpt project.
  • The Organizer function is used for renaming and deleting most items such as Tables, Views and Calendars.
  • The two tabs with titles that are not self-explanatory are:
    • Maps – These are predefined tables for exporting data, and
    • Modules – These are Visual Basic Macros.
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To see more explanations like this, then consider buying my Project Management: Plan and Control with Microsoft Project online course here.

Paul Harris
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Paul Harris
Certified Cost Engineer, Certified PRINCE2™ Practitioner
Subjects of Expertise: Project Management
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Paul Harris
Certified Cost Engineer
Certified PRINCE2™ Practitioner

Subjects of Expertise

Project Management

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